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Pak leaders label US charge as 'baseless'

A marathon meeting of Pakistan's top political leaders has rejected US assertion that the ISI is using the Haqqani network to wage a proxy war in Afghanistan as "baseless" and backed the military in defeating "any threat to national security".

world Updated: Oct 01, 2011 00:26 IST

A marathon meeting of Pakistan's top political leaders has rejected US assertion that the ISI is using the Haqqani network to wage a proxy war in Afghanistan as "baseless" and backed the military in defeating "any threat to national security".

Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani convened the meeting of political and religious parties on Thursday against the backdrop of growing tensions with the US and threats of unilateral US military action against militants holed up in the tribal belt bordering Afghanistan.

Without naming the US, a resolution adopted at the end of nine-hour meeting said the political leadership had "rejected the recent assertions and baseless allegations made against Pakistan" as they were "without substance and derogatory to a partnership approach".

The resolution called for a "new direction and policy with a focus on peace and reconciliation", saying Pakistan "must initiate dialogue with a view to negotiate peace with our own people in the tribal areas".

In an apparent response to US threats of unilateral action against militant groups like the Haqqani network, the resolution said: "The Pakistani nation affirms its full solidarity and support for the armed forces of Pakistan in defeating any threat to national security."

The gathering was briefed by foreign minister Hina Rabbani Khar and Inter-Services Intelligence agency chief Lt Gen Ahmed Shuja Pasha on Pakistan's security environment and the regional situation.

Media reports said ISI chief Pasha, in his presentation at the meeting explained that the Haqqani network was "open to negotiations" and the Americans should focus on dialogue for lasting peace in Afghanistan instead of taking the militant group "head on".